OAKLAND – In his attempt to seize the final spot on a potent Warriors roster, JaVale McGee made an emphatic and memorable opening statement to his prospective teammates on Tuesday.
The 7-foot, 270-pound center, signed to a non-guaranteed contract because of his size and athleticism, made strong impressions in the first practice of training camp.
McGee, by his count, blocked “like six shots” during a session that lasted about 90 minutes.
“He looked really good, athletic and long and can do a lot for us,” forward Kevin Durant said. “We’re going to need him to protect the rim and finish over the top of the rim.”
McGee, 28, is a veteran of four NBA teams, most recently with the Mavericks last season. His career has been one of ups and downs, an intriguing mix of injuries, extraordinary moments and completely forgettable occasions.
McGee was recommended by veteran forward Andre Iguodala, as they were Nuggets teammates in 2012-13. After the departures of Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli, the Warriors were in the market for someone with McGee’s assets.
“That’s definitely a plus,” McGee said. “They really don’t have a rim protector, a big who can run the floor and catch alley-oops. Like me and Andre were doing when we were in Denver . . . except it’s a lot better players and better shooters on this team.”
McGee was by all accounts active and effective, blocking numerous shots, some of them spectacularly.
“I blocked a couple shots,” McGee said. “I don’t know whose shot I blocked. I was just trying to get down there and do what I had to do. That’s what I do; I just block shots, basically, block shots and rebounding.
“I blocked like six shots today.”
Of the six non-roster invitees, McGee is the only center. And he has by far the most NBA experience.
“We all have our flaws out there on the court,” Durant said. “But someone that long and athletic is hard to come by. He can block shots, can rebound and can go over the top of the rim and finish. That’s what I’m focused on, trying to bring that out of him. That’s what everybody on our team has been encouraging. Today was a good day for him and he’ll just try and build on it.”